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Racial and Ethnic Inequality

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1 Racial and Ethnic Inequality
Chapter 11 Racial and Ethnic Inequality

2 Minority, Racial, and Ethnic Groups
Racial group is used to describe a group that is set apart from others because of obvious physical differences. Minority group is a subordinate group whose members have significantly less control or power over their own lives than the members of a dominant or majority group have over theirs.

3 Sociologists have identified five basic properties of a minority group–
Unequal treatment: members of a minority group experience unequal treatment as compared to members of a dominant group. (e.g., prejudice, discrimination, segregation, or even extermination) Physical or cultural traits: members of a minority group share physical or cultural characteristics that distinguish them from the dominant group. Ascribed status: membership in a minority (or dominant) group is not voluntary; people are born into the group.

4 Solidarity (相互依存): minority group members have a strong sense of group solidarity. When a group is the object of long-term prejudice and discrimination, the feeling of ‘us versus them’ can and often does become extremely intense. In-group marriage: members of a minority generally marry others from the same group. A member of a dominant group is often unwilling to marry into a supposedly inferior minority.

5 Race (種族) The term racial group refers to those minorities set apart from others by obvious physical differences. Biological significance of race Viewed from a biological perspective, the term race would refer to a genetically isolated group with distinctive gene frequencies.

6 Social construction of race
The one-drop rule was a vivid example of the social construction of race– the process by which people come to define a group as a race based in part on physical characteristics, but also on historical, cultural, and economic factors.

7 Self-fulfilling prophecy (自我實現的預言)
In certain situations, we may respond to stereotypes in such a way that false definitions end up being accurate. In this phenomenon, called the self-fulfilling prophecy, a person or group that is described as having particular characteristics begins to display those very traits. (e.g., when teachers and counsellors tell a bright child from a working class family that he would make a good carpenter or mechanic, for instance, they may discourage him from thinking of college or a profession.)

8 Self-fulfilling prophecies can be especially devastating for minority groups. The dominant group in a society believes that subordinate group members lack the ability to perform in important and lucrative positions. So it denies them the training needed to become scientists, executives, or physicians, effectively locking the subordinate group into society’s inferior jobs. The false definition has become real: in terms of employment, the minority has become inferior because it was originally defined as inferior and was prevented from achieving equality.

9 Ethnicity (族群) An ethnic group, unlike a racial group, is set apart from others because its national origin or distinctive cultural patterns. (e.g., in the USA, Hispanics or Latinos: Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans; Jewish, Irish, Italian, and Norwegian Americans) The distinction between racial and ethnic minorities is not always clear-cut.

10 Prejudice and Discrimination
Prejudice (偏見) is a negative attitude toward an entire category of people, often an ethnic or racial minority. If you resent your roommate because he or she is sloppy, you are not necessarily guilty of prejudice. However, if you immediately stereotype your roommate on the basis of such characteristics are race, ethnicity, or religion, that is a form of prejudice.

11 Prejudice can result from ethnocentrism– the tendency to assume that one’s culture and way of life represent the norm or are superior to all others. One important and widespread form of prejudice is racism, the belief that one race is supreme and all others are innately inferior. When racism prevails in a society, members of subordinate groups generally experience prejudice, discrimination, and exploitation.

12 Discriminatory Behaviour
Prejudice often leads to discrimination (歧視), the denial of opportunities and equal rights to individuals and groups based on some type of arbitrary. Discrimination persists even for the most educated and qualified minority group members from the best family backgrounds. Despite their talents and experiences, they sometimes encounter attitudinal or organisational bias that prevents them from reaching their full potential.

13 Glass ceiling refers to an invisible barrier that blocks the promotion of a qualified individual in a work environment because of the individual’s gender, race, or ethnicity. According to the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission report: the existence of this glass ceiling results principally from the fears and prejudices of many middle- and upper-level White male managers, who believe that the inclusion of women and minority group men in management circles will threaten their own prospects for advancement.


15 Institutional discrimination
Discrimination is practiced not only by individuals in one-to-one encounters but also by institutions in their daily operations. Social scientists are particularly concerned with the ways in which structural factors such as employment, housing, health care, and government operations maintain the social significance of race and ethnicity. Institutional discrimination refers to the denial of opportunities and equal rights to individuals and groups that results from the normal operations of a society.

16 Affirmative action (反歧視行動) refers to positive efforts to recruit minority members or women for jobs, promotions, and educational opportunities. For the last few decades, affirmative action programmes have been instituted to overcome past discrimination, but does it work?



19 Patterns of Inter-group Relations
Racial and ethnic groups can relate to one another in a wide variety of ways, ranging from friendships and inter-marriages to genocide, from behaviours that require mutual approval to behaviours imposed by the dominant group. One devastating pattern of inter-group relations is genocide (種族滅絕)– the deliberate, systematic killing of an entire people or nation. (Nazi German to European Jews; 19 Century US policies to Native Americans) (expulsion 驅逐 is another extreme)

20 Amalgamation (融合) Amalgamation describes the end result when a majority group and a minority group combine to form a new group. Through intermarriage over several generations, various groups in the society combine to form a new group. (e.g., The USA as a ‘melting pot’)

21 Assimilation (同化) Assimilation is the process by which a person forsakes his or her own cultural tradition to become part of a different culture. Generally, it is practiced by a minority group member who wants to conform to the standards of the dominant group.

22 Segregation (隔離) Segregation refers to the physical separation of two groups of people in terms of residence, workplace, and social events. From 1948 to 1990, the Republic of South Africa severely restricted the movement of Blacks and other non-Whites by means of a wide-ranging system of segregation known as apartheid (種族隔離制). Apartheid even included the creation of homelands where Blacks were expected to live. (Nelson Mandela abolished the oppressive policy of apartheid).

23 Pluralism (多元論) Pluralism is based on mutual respect among various groups in a society for one another’s cultures. It allows a minority group to express its own culture and still to participate without prejudice in the larger society. Switzerland exemplifies a modern pluralistic state. The absence both of a national language and of a dominant religious faith leads to a tolerance for cultural diversity.

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